• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

Automotive Safety Groups: Automation names are too confusing

ByElla E. Kidwell

Jul 27, 2022
A quick quiz: What does a Forward Collision Alert system do in a car?

Not too hard to guess, right?

Okay, so what does the “Pre-Collision Safety System” do?

This one is a little less clear.

What does a system called “Smart City Brake Support” do?

Your guesses are getting vague, aren’t they?

But the one called “Full Self-Driving” has to drive the car for you, right?

This is not the case.

The American auto industry has a problem.

Names can be fuzzy or even misleading

Automakers have built many automated systems that could make our roads safer – systems that detect cars in blind spots and prevent us from changing lanes, as well as systems that automatically brake to avoid hitting objects on the road. pavement. The programs take on some of the driving workload so drivers can stay fresh on long trips.

They have the potential to be great. But their names are confusing.

Some describe quite well what the system does. GM’s “Forward Collision Alert” system, for example, issues a warning if the car is in danger of colliding with something in front of it.

Some are much less clear. Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support brakes the car when it detects a stationary object in the road, even if the driver does not touch the pedal. It works inside and outside cities.

Some are simply misleading – Tesla was forced to admit in legal documents filed in California in 2020 that its “Full Self-Driving” system is not and will not be. Company executives “do not expect meaningful improvements” that “would shift responsibility for the entire dynamic driving task to the system,” he told regulators.

To make matters worse, it also sells something called Autopilot. He doesn’t drive the car for you either.

The Avengers of Auto Safety team up

America has several automotive safety watchdog groups. They have helped make driving safer for all of us. When they all speak with one voice, we should listen.

They came together to demand that we fix the naming problem.

AAA, Consumer Reports, JD Power, the National Safety Council, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), and SAE International (a worldwide association of transportation engineers and related technical experts) have joined together to demand that the automotive industry standardizes the names of driver assistance functions.

They have published a list of common sense suggestions.

Groups, for example, would differentiate systems that warn from systems that respond. Forward collision warning would alert the driver to a hazard ahead of the car. Automatic emergency braking would do the same but also apply the brakes.

“The standardized terms were created to provide clarity for consumers by naming and describing ADAS functions in a consistent and easy-to-understand manner,” the groups state. ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

They even allow marketing names, as long as automakers use a common lexicon to explain what each has done.

They are not asking for government regulation at this point. Instead, they’re asking automakers to adopt standardized terminology “to help reduce consumer confusion.”

But the request comes as several watchdog groups step up scrutiny of automated systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (not part of this group) has announced plans to begin evaluating automated systems, while AAA has begun testing them and has been disappointed with the results.